Thursday, 15 October 2015

Swingy enables Ping Pong with your Feet on Kickstarter

Swingy Balance board Kickstarter
Swingy  on Kickstarter
Swingy takes me back to one Christmas when we got a Wii Game console with a balance board for the family. There were squeals of laughter as we tried to balance, stand super still and manoeuvre to out do each others scores. Swingy is a new product on Kickstarter that enables that connection between your body and the game. We took a closer look, and share our thoughts on this invention.

Swingy helps solve problems

As a designer, I love the design of Swingy balance board. It's made out of Beechwood and has a lovely, warm, designer look about it. The technology part (sensors) are "invisible", located on the underside of the straight platform, making is a truly beautiful product. Apart from it being aesthetically pleasing, it looks like a lot of fun to use and sets out to solve a problem that many parents today face - too much passive screen time! I have three boys and they are very active, but can easily slip into zombie mode when they are playing on their devices. To me, as a parent concerned about my kids health and wellbeing, the Swingy is pretty innovative.

So how does the Swingy work?

Each balance board is fitted with a sensor which in turn controls a part of the game. You control the movements in the game, through your feet whilst standing on the Swingy (each foot on a separate board). It is specifically designed to improve balance and co-ordination and therefore promoting better posture. I certainly would much prefer my kiddies working on better posture whilst enjoying their screen time*. *Imagining the current slouched position they take when playing tablet games.

With this Kickstarter campaign, Swingy has developed one game - Swingy Pong. "Each balance board controls one of the sliders on the screen. Keep the ball in play by hitting it with one of the sliders! You get five lives to get to your high score. Try to avoid the animals as they will make the game harder, but if you can't, forest fruits are there for the rescue!" I would imagine with a successful campaign, they would develop more games.

The balance board is for ages 4 and up and robust enough to take the weight on an adult. Come to think how hard I found balancing on two separate plates at our local science centre, I would benefit from using the Swingy too.

What are our concerns?

The novelty will soon wear off, especially if Swingy doesn't focus on developing more games and instances of use. All the screen time kids have, can't and won't be spent on using the Swingy. My kids have specific games they like to play at the moment, they may use the Swingy for a bit and then revert back to their games which aren't Swingy compatible. The Swingy is compatible with both Apple and Android devices with BLE enabled. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is designed to provide significantly lower power consumption. This allows apps to communicate with BLE devices (such as the Swingy) that have low power requirements. You'd need to check your device is BLE enabled. It is powered using a CR2025 battery (coin battery) which they say will last up to 6 months. It is unclear what level of usage would afford such battery life.

Tech Age Kids Verdict

We really like the Swingy and their story touches a nerve of many parents of tech age kids today.

It would be great if they could enable kids to develop their own games for the Swingy, maybe using a platform like Scratch. (How to connect Scratch to the physical world)

The Swingy, without its sensors, is a great apparatus, with real health benefits, to have at home to make up non-tech games and challenges for the whole family to improve balance and posture.

Source: Swingy of Kickstarter

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